~ The 13th North American Crane Workshop ~  

The 13th North American Crane Workshop was held in Lafayette, Louisiana, April 14-17, 2014. The workshop was a resounding success, the southwest Louisiana landscape and birdlife spectacular, the locals warm and welcoming. President Jane Austin described the scientific program as perhaps the strongest at a workshop to date. A pair of reintroduced young Whooping Cranes stole the headlines – they built a nest and laid and incubated eggs, the first produced in the state since 1939. A special thanks to Sammy King and his many colleagues for hosting this wonderful event.

Among its many purposes, the workshop is where we formally recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals who have dedicated themselves to saving cranes and crane habitat. Gary Krapu was presented the L. H. Walkinshaw Crane Conservation Award by Jane Austin on behalf of NACWG in recognition of his many years of work and advocacy in support of Sandhill Cranes. The award recognized Dr. Krapu’s long-term commitment to better understand the needs of Sandhill Cranes in the Platte River ecosystem, for having initiated a comprehensive, long-term, research program to guide conservation and management of the mid-continental population of Sandhill Cranes, and for collaborative research efforts with crane biologists from other nations to help guide crane conservation internationally. George Archibald and Tom Stehn were honored by the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, each receiving the Jerome J. Pratt Crane Conservation Award, the WCCA’s highest honor, from WCCA Trustee Walter Sturgeon. This is a lifetime achievement award given to an individual or organization who, through exceptional achievement and dedicated service, has contributed significantly to the conservation and/or collective knowledge of the Whooping Crane. The acceptance speeches delivered with such passion by Gary, George, and Tom encourage us all to continue their important work.

Student Awards at the 13th Workshop Nicole Davis of Texas State University–San Marcos received the Best Student Presentation Award for “Movement Strategies of Subadult Individuals on Winter Habitat Influence Winter Range Expansion of a Migratory Bird”, a study of Whooping Crane movement behavior in relationship to site fidelity and habitat quality on the Texas coast. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Liz Smith of the International Crane Foundation. Student Travel Awards were given to Inga Bysykatova (Russia), Brian Gerber (Colorado), and Hillary Thompson (Wisconsin) to aid their attendance at the 13th Workshop. Proceeds from a silent auction held during the Workshop helped fund student travel. Donated items included bird-related books, framed pictures and other kinds of artwork, handicrafts, apparel, and birding materials. We congratulate the student award recipients and thank all presenters for their participation. The quality of the presentations was very high.

Eight board members were elected by voice vote at the general business meeting on the final day of the workshop. The first meeting of the new board was held May 16 (by conference call). Felipe Chavez-Ramirez agreed to serve as president; Richard Urbanek will continue as vice president; Barry Hartup is the new treasurer; Daryl Henderson is secretary; David Aborn, Sammy King, Tommy Michot, and Glenn Olsen are non-executive members of the board. Having stepped down as president after two full terms, Jane Austin will continue to represent NACWG in its role as a member of the Ornithological Council. We thank Jane for her strong leadership as president since 2008.

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Photo: © J. Austin   Photo: © J. Austin
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